|Toyah's Ready To Rumble
in the Jungle
She was no Johnny Rotten but, to many, Toyah Willcox
remains an icon of punk. With her shocking rainbow-coloured hair she spent
the first half of the 80s flying high in the charts with post-punk anthems
such as It's A Mystery.
But it looks like we'll be seeing a very different
side to the singer/actress over the next couple of weeks - in more ways
In the second series of I'm A Celebrity... Get
Me Out Of Here! - set to dominate our TV screens for a fortnight from Monday
- she's planning to throw off the shackles of civilisation and go back
to nature big style - with a little help from her celeb pal and fellow
contestant Wayne Sleep.
"I do have this fantasy that Wayne and I will
run naked through the jungle," she says mischievously with her trademark
lisp. "My biggest fantasy is being naked in a rainforest."
The fact that she'll be sharing the screen with
glamour girl Catalina doesn't bother her in the slightest.
"There's no way they'll get me into a bikini in
the jungle standing next to Catalina - but I would go naked against her,"
she says. "Bikinis only accentuate all the bad bits.
"When I had the meeting for the show, they couldn't
believe my muscles. They were expecting a middle-age spread," says Birmingham-born
Toyah, 44, in her final interview before leaving her Australian hotel for
"It's only in the last year that, for the first
time, I enjoy being in my body. Doing the stage show Calamity Jane has
kept me fit as I'm doing lots stage fighting, stunt work and acrobatics.
"My legs and arms are solid muscle and I do about
200 press-ups a day followed by 50 sit-ups. I have to be iron hard.
"I always had to be sexy and worry about my weight
as a singer and it made me shy - now I don't give a damn."
This devil-may-care attitude could take Toyah
to the final stages of the competition.
And thanks to her rather bizarre marital arrangements,
she has another big advantage over her fellow castaways.
While Danniella Westbrook, Sian Lloyd, Antony
Worrall Thompson and the rest of the intrepid jungle adventurers will be
pining for their loved ones, Toyah will actually be a lot closer to her
56-year-old husband, former King Crimson guitarist Robert Fripp, than she
"I don't see enough of Robert anyway, so being
apart won't be a huge wrench for me," she says. "I'll miss talking to him
on the phone but he'll be flying out to Australia.
"He's normally based in Nashville. It's has been
a tough year because I've been away on tour most of the time. It means
that so far this year I've seen him for only three weeks, but I'm used
to it because it's been like that for 17 years.
"At the beginning I was always heartbroken and
pining for him, but I recreated my life to be busy and not to think about
it too much.
"It is an usual situation but we like our own
company. Last year he was actually home for three months but we ended up
living in different houses.
"But I love his company and I love looking at
him. I like him more since he's got older because he looks grey and distinguished
It was during one of their many long trans-atlantic
telephone calls that Robert encouraged his wife to give the jungle challenge
And when he flies out to Australia he'll give
TV audiences a personal insight into how he believes Toyah is coping Down
My husband's over the moon and thinks this is
a reward for a year of extremely hard work," says Toyah.
"When he gets to Australia he'll spend the whole
time crying because he's so soft.
"If he sees me doing anything dangerous he'll
just burst into tears. He's a very private person but he's happy I'm doing
this and he'll do anything to support me."
After suffering miscarriages in her twenties,
Toyah was so certain that she didn't want children that she had herself
sterilised at the age of 27.
She believes that this has allowed their unconventional
relationship to flourish.
"I think not having children helps us," she says.
"It's not that I don't like children, but we're free - I mean, we don't
even share a bank account.
"This kind of marriage may not work for anyone
else, but I don't think we'd change our way together.
"I thought we'd live together when we married
and of course you want that at the beginning but because of our careers,
we never fixed it like that.
"I guess I'm married to my work now and need the
phone to ring and love meeting deadlines."
So while her rivals pine for their loved ones
and fret about giving up their sex lives, Toyah's terrors are far more
"I'm terrified of every insect except for butterflies,"
she says. "Snakes don't bother me unless they're hissing and are bright
yellow. But there have been times when I've woken up with a spider on me
and I've burst into tears. I'm hoping to escape that one.
"I'm also worried about not being able to eat
when I want to, and the lack of chocolate. I get huge sugar cravings.
"And I'm phobic about going to the loo if people
can hear. I'll have to get Wayne to sing when I'm in the loo to cover up
"I'll find it hard because I like my own space
so I hope I get time to think. If I need to, I'll walk away and be quiet,
on my own.
"And I don't take any nonsense from people. I
learned that from my school days. I limped because one of my legs was longer
than the other and I was badly bullied from the age of four until I was
11 in ways I can't even talk about.
"They used to strangle me with their shoelaces
until I passed out. It took a year for me to realise it wasn't normal.
"I finally dealt with it by knocking the biggest
bully flat out. I picked up a chair and smashed it over her head. If I
hadn't fought back I would have been trampled on. Now I don't take any
rubbish from people.
"If people are negative or moan, then I won't
like it, but I'm always the devil's advocate when arguments happen which
might infuriate people.
"I'm also a bit of a mickey taker so I think I'll
be the joker of the pack. I can see me hiding Antony's underpants or setting
his clothes on fire."
Unless Toyah's tantrums see her kicked out early,
there'll be no time for recuperation after her jungle ordeal.
A few days after she returns to the UK she's due
back on stage in Calamity Jane in Sheffield. The show then moves to the
West End on June 12.
She's also somehow finding the time to release
a new album called Velvet Lined Shell.
"I love diversity and gear my life around it.
If I feel trapped, I move on," she says
Despite the convenient timing of her album, Toyah
insists her participation in the show is nothing to do with self-promotion.
"I'm not doing this as a publicity stunt, it will
be a huge personal learning curve," she says.
"When there's no food and comfort or family around
me, the true me will come out and I want to see who that person is.
"To the public, I lisp and I'm quirky - that's
who I am. But there are more levels to me and I want people to see the
"And, like I said, I can't wait to experience
being naked in a rainforest."
By Nick Webster And Emma Bussey
26th April 2003